Voter Fraud 6 January 2021

What happened at the Capitol today was disgusting and a shock to American democracy. Trump was the actor in this show but he didn’t event the idea of the “stolen” election. It has been around since the civil war and has to do with white supremacy. Here is an article written in the NY Times on Saturday the 16th of January 2021. It was written by Jamelle Boulle. Everybody who reads this blog should read this article and understand it’s impact on life in America.

JAMELLE BOULLE

To explain the attack on the Capitol, you can’t just turn your focus to Donald Trump and his enablers. You must also look at the individuals and institutions that fanned fears of “voter fraud” to the point of hysteria among conservative voters, long before Trump. Put another way, the difference between a riot seeking to overturn an election and an effort to suppress opposing votes is one of legality, not intent. And it doesn’t take many steps to get from one to the other.
Conservative belief in pervasive Democratic Party voter fraud goes back decades — and rests on racist and nativist tropes that date back to Reconstruction in the South and Tammany Hall in the North — but the modern obsession with fraud dates back to the 2000 election. That year, Republicans blamed Democratic fraud for narrow defeats in New Mexico, which George W. Bush lost by just a few hundred votes, and Missouri, where the incumbent senator, John Ashcroft, lost his re-election battle to a dead man.
Ashcroft’s opponent, Mel Carnahan, was killed three weeks earlier in a plane crash, but his name was still on the ballot, with his wife running in his stead. Shocked Republicans blamed Ashcroft’s defeat on fraud. At Ashcroft’s election-night party, the state’s senior Republican senator, Kit Bond, said, “Democrats in the city of St. Louis are trying to steal this election.”
In 2001, as the newly minted attorney general under President George W. Bush, Ashcroft announced a crackdown on voter fraud. “America has failed too often to uphold the right of every citizen’s vote, once cast, to be counted fairly and equally,” he said at a news conference that March:
Votes have been bought, voters intimidated and ballot boxes stuffed. The polling process has been disrupted or not completed. Voters have been duped into signing absentee ballots believing they were applications for public relief. And the residents of cemeteries have infamously shown up at the polls on Election Day.
The Republican National Committee supported this push, claiming to have evidence that thousands of voters had cast more than one ballot in the same election.

Over the ensuing years, under pressure from the White House ahead of the presidential election in 2004, the Justice Department ramped up its crusade against voter fraud. Of particular interest was ACORN, a now-defunct advocacy organization that was working — as the presidential election got underway — to register hundreds of thousands of low-income voters. Swing-state Republicans accused the group of “manufacturing voters,” and federal prosecutors looked, unsuccessfully, for evidence of wrongdoing. Later, Karl Rove would press President Bush’s second attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to fire a number of U.S. attorneys for failure to investigate voter fraud allegations, leading to a scandal that eventually led to Gonzales’s resignation in 2007.
ACORN and voter fraud would remain a bête noire for Republicans for the rest of the decade. Conservative advocacy groups and media organizations produced a steady stream of anti-ACORN material and, as the 2008 election campaign heated up, did everything they could to tie Democratic candidates, and Barack Obama in particular, to a group they portrayed as radical and dangerous. ACORN, Rush Limbaugh said in one characteristic segment, has “been training young Black kids to hate, hate, hate this country.”
During his second debate with Obama, a few weeks before the election, the Republican nominee, John McCain, charged that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” And his campaign materials similarly accused Obama, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of orchestrating a vast conspiracy of fraud. “We’ve always known the Obama-Biden Democrats will do anything to win this November, but we didn’t know how far their allies would go,” read one mailer. “The Obama-supported, far-left group, ACORN, has been accused of voter-registration fraud in a number of battleground states.”
McCain and the Republican Party devoted much of the last weeks of the election to a voter fraud scare campaign with ACORN as the villain. And while, in the wake of the election, these allegations of illegal voting never panned out, the conservative fixation with voter fraud would continue into the Obama years and beyond.

Not that this was a shock. As an accusation, “voter fraud” has been used historically to disparage the participation of Black voters and immigrants — to cast their votes as illegitimate. And Obama came to office on the strength of historic turnout among Black Americans and other nonwhite groups. To the conservative grass roots, Obama’s very presence in the White House was, on its face, evidence that fraud had overtaken American elections.
In 2011, Republicans in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin capitalized on their legislative gains to pass new voter restrictions under the guise of election protection. Other states slashed early voting and made it more difficult to run registration drives. One 2013 study found that in states with “unencumbered Republican majorities” and large Black populations, lawmakers were especially likely to pass new voter identification laws and other restrictions on the franchise.
The 2012 election saw more of the same accusations of voter fraud. Donald Trump, who had flirted with running for president that year, called the election a “total sham and a travesty” and claimed that Obama had “lost the popular vote by a lot.” According to one survey taken after the election, 49 percent of Republican voters said they thought ACORN had stolen the election for the president.
ACORN, however, no longer existed. It closed its doors in 2010 after Congress stripped it of federal funding in the aftermath of a scandal stoked by right-wing provocateurs, whose accusations have since been discredited.
The absence of any evidence for voter fraud was not, for Republicans, evidence of its absence. Freed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, which ended federal “preclearance” of election laws in much of the South, Republican lawmakers passed still more voter restrictions, each justified as necessary measures in the war against fraud.
Prominent Republican voices continued to spread the myth. “I’ve always thought in this state, close elections, presidential elections, it means you probably have to win with at least 53 percent of the vote to account for fraud,” Scott Walker, then the governor of Wisconsin, said in a 2014 interview with The Weekly Standard. “One or two points, potentially.”
Rank-and-file Republicans had already been marinating in 16 years of concentrated propaganda about the prevalence of voter fraud by the time Donald Trump claimed, in 2016, that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote with millions of illegal ballots. If Republican voters today are quick to believe baroque conspiracy theories about fabricated and stolen votes, then it has quite a lot to do with the words and actions of a generation of mainstream Republican politicians who refused to accept that a Democratic majority was a legitimate majority.

The narrative of fraud and election theft that spurred the mob that stormed the Capitol would be unintelligible without the work of the Republican Party, which inculcated this idée fixe in its voters. “Stop the Steal” wasn’t a Trump innovation as much as it was a new spin on an old product line that, even after the violence on Jan. 6, Republicans are still selling.

Love and Trump January 7, 2021

Richard Apelt has been my friend for many years. We ran into one another while I was living in Greece. He had been a corpsman with the Marines in Vietnam. He got caught in a shoot out and got wounded. He was working on a man’s chest wound when a sniper hit the man’s head. Richard played dead for many hours while the Viet Cong were there and finally got back to American lines.

When he got back to the States he worked in shipyards and painted boats. He went down ro Florida, lived on Stock Island and fished for lobsters. He knew Jimmy Buffett before the world knew Jimmy Buffett. Later he went back up in Virginia and was digging ditches for Con Ed. He went to his new girl friend’s house after work. She was sitting on the porch with her girlfriend. That girl said: “Is that Richard? He looks like a Grave Digger.” That name has stuck by him, for many years.

When we met on the island of Crete, in 1972, he and a friend of his were living on the beach at Sitia. Grave was into traveling as far as he could get, to see the things that the young kids who died in Vietnam could never see. The beach was pretty full of hippies from all over Europe.

I was flying for Pan Am and was on some free time. I was there with my wife Joann and our two kids, Alexis (6) and Damon (4). We were staying in a hotel in Sitia and would come out to the beach everyday, with three liters of wine. One evening, as we were leaving, Alexis said she wanted to stay on the beach and Grave said he would look after her, so she stayed. The next morning, when we arrived she was playing with some French kids down by the water. She saw us and waved at us and then got in a little boat and went for a ride.

During this time, Greece ws being run by a group of Colonels that were put into power by the American CIA. Before he left Greece, Grave wrote an article to the Prime Minister about taking down the militaristic symbol they were using to identify themselves.

Well. Joann got really frightened by that letter and there was nothing I could do, to calm her down. We had been on a small island and had been flying a kite. When Damon brought it down, the rope got completely tangled. Grave and I sat there and spent several hours untangling the rope, but I couldn’t untangle her fear.

Well, Grave set out on a long journey — through Turkey, across the Shah’s Iran, into Afghanistan and down into India and into Australia. He had bought a small cotton backpack and a hunting knife and he told Damon that if anything exciting happened with the knife, he would write Damon about it. As he crossed India, he saw some Elephants, but they stayed at a distance and Grave wrote a card Damon saying they must have known he had the knife and they didn’t bother him.

Over the years, Grave and I have stayed friends. He says that the books I gave him when he left Greece helped him on his personal journey, especially Krishnamurti’s The Flight of the Eagle. Well, eventually Grave became a postman in Tulsa, Oklahoma and soon got transferred to St. Petersburg, Florida. There he got married to Susan, an American Indian woman. I was at that wedding and visited him in St. Petersburg.

When he retired, he sold his house in Florida and came up to New York. He now lives in Jay, NY. On the 18th of December in 2019, he and Sue left their cabin in the woods, to go to town. On the way home, there was some snow on the ground and Grave got sideways on the road. Soon, a car being driven by a young woman hit his car and killed Susan. He has continued to live in Jay and is getting better, all the time. He has started hiking with a group of women who have been hiking for many years. He is the only male on their hikes. After the Trump attack on the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., Grave wrote this piece. I asked him if it was OK with him for me to put it on my blog and the said: “OK”. So here it is:

Yesterday I enjoyed my finest day yet winter hiking in Eden. Eight others and I under the spell cast by the essence of the earth and sky. There was only room for love. That is what is possible in this Gaian world of infinite possibilities. It is time to search our soul, to rummage through all of our learned wisdom, to look for clues for our existence from the shambles that existence has left scattered throughout the Garden and the mind of man.
We have had a bit of chaos recently, chaos that caught the attention of every facet of our population, each facet a universe unto its own.
Consider this idea of what it is or may be. Change is a daily occurrence, it is met differently according to the conditioned state of each being. Change sweeps across the plains leaving clumps of this here and that there. The bigger clumps get the most attention and predominate. But there are many smaller clumps, oddities that we can scarcely imagine, lying disenfranchised out of sight out of mind, dormant, festering, awaiting the right conditions to awaken and express themsves. Humans use and abuse every nook and cranny of our Gaian World. I hope the use of that word doesn’t scare you. Maybe just the tiniest sip of kool-aid will spark your mind. Many little clumps of humanity, each a delusional universe of its own can be brought to a fever by the alchemist also of the most delusional sort. Now you have to cognate a moment and understand that universal physical laws apply to humans also. In brief, the Donald fanned these clumps, used them, became almost a God to them because he gave them meaning and life and he said he loved them. I think a great many could be manipulated into our greatest nightmare.
We need to remember that these clumps are aspects of ourselves. If we can overcome some of our conditioned thought process and get in touch with that bit of our DNA, that dormant spark within that allowed us to evolve to the tipping point where the journey downward spirals and take a breath, if that then there is not only hope but answers. And so I ask you what is love.

8 November 2020

Today, we learned that Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States and that pleases me because he will bring some decency to the Presidential office that has been missing through the Trump years. It will be a rough go for the next several weeks until the installation but we will deal with it.

Today, we faced the closure of Tegel Airport in Berlin, Germany. Having spent a lifetime as a pilot, I have seen many airports but not one of them was better designed for passengers. The architecture of Tegel enabled cars to come inside the Hexagonal building. The design had agents at each gate to check the passenger in and the passenger walked about 50 yards to the boarding door, No long corridors full of stores selling whatever, no separate security portal, a real pleasure for the passengers.

Flughafen Tegel Luftbilder 8. August 2003

Pan Am was one of four carriers that were allowed to fly into Berlin when it was a divided city after WWII. We flew Boeing 727s and later Boeing 737s in and out of Tegel. We flew to Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Stuttgart for the Internal German Service, IGS and we picked up passengers in Frankfurt and London and we flew them on our aircraft to the Scandinavian countries and to all the Iron Curtain countries. We also flew to Athens,Greece and to Zurich, Switzerland and we did Charters to Italy, the Canary Islands, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia and others I don’t remember now.

There were about 250 PanAm pilots based in Berlin. About a third of them lived in Berlin, as I did, but the others commuted back and forth to the States. The pilots that flew these routes often, in the three corridors that were agreed to during the war, would come back to Berlin at 10,000 feet, the maximum altitude the Air Force had agreed on during WWII. Then. in Berlin, we were cleared for an approach to Tegel. So, we determined which runway we were going to and how many miles we would have to fly, we would consider the wind and the local altimeter settings. Then, the pilot would decide where to pull back the thrust levers to idle, he would stay at altitude to slow down to 250 knots airspeed and then start a decent to the ILS altitude of about 2000 feet. At that altitude, he would level the aircraft and loose enough airspeed to get to his final cruising speed of 180 knots and would put out his flaps. He would hold that speed until he reached the decent beam of the ILS system and then would start desending. At seven hundred feet, he would put down the landing gear and slow to his landing speed, around 140 knots and THEN HE WOULD MOVE THE THROTTLES FOR THE FIRST TIME since he went to idle, at the top of decent.

Election Day 2020

A very old friend of mine, Tom Stringer, put out an email today saying he was afraid of Bloodshed in the streets. I don’t fear that at all and I sent him an email:

Toomey:
You know how quiet a street I live on. You probably do not know how LITTLE time I spend watching the news. But sitting here on LEcluse Lane:
I have NO fear of bloodshed in America.

I never worry about immigrants learning English:
because their kids learn English.

I don‘t worry about looters stealing TV sets, because the white power elite have been stealing from the poor, black and indigenous people for several centuries and the looters are just saying:
We do exist.

I am not afraid of Donald Trump. He is a man that has the intellectual capacity of a maladjusted teenager. I do not believe the US military will do ANYTHING:

to help him steal the election.

So, my advice:

Enjoy the quiet place where you live and DON‘T watch the news.

Love,
Ted